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Teacher Giving Guitar Lessons
a place for all to shine and grow!


O U R   T E A C H E R S

All of FUMCN's teachers attend conferences and classes to stay current with educational trends and have taught workshops at State and Midwest levels.

Susan Sowder

program director and lead teacher

Ms. Susan is happy to be back at FUMCN after a three year sabbatical in South Africa.  Originally a FUMCN parent with 4 children attending, she began the FUMCN Young Fives program in 2006.  This program featured small classes, hands-on learning and field trips throughout the community.  In 2017, Ms. Susan taught kindergarten in South Africa, finishing as the Team Leader for the kindergarten program.  Upon returning to the US, she is happy to be back at FUMCN, this time in the role of Program Director and Lead Teacher.  With a Masters in Education, and a focus on science, Ms. Susan brings a love of the natural world to the classroom.  This is evident in the former enrichment program, Science Fridays, that explored topics such as rocks, bubbles and pillbugs.  Ms. Susan has been teaching for over 18 years, in a variety of places: Africa, Alaska, Detroit and Ann Arbor. She loves including a diversity of cultures and experiences in the classroom, as well as her personal life.  In addition to traveling, Ms. Susan enjoys running, hiking, camping and has learned to crochet during the pandemic.


assistant teacher

Ms. Lisa has been an assistant teacher with FUMCN since 2010. Prior to staying home full time with her 3 children, Ms. Lisa worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist for over 10 years. Most recently, she worked with children on the autism spectrum and with other developmental or neurological disabilities. She continues to be particularly interested in social communication and the development of literacy skills (pre-reading) in young children. All 3 of Ms. Lisa’s children attended FUMCN with her youngest participating in the Young Fives program prior to her becoming a teacher here. The strong emphasis on learning through play and discovery, as well as the community atmosphere of FUMCN, in Ms. Lisa’s opinion, make it an ideal place to work. When she is not working, Ms. Lisa enjoys walking, reading, cooking, camping and being with her family and friends.


assistant teacher

Ms. Mary has been teaching at FUMCN  since 2008. She attended CMU for her undergraduate and graduate degrees. Her studies focused on psychology and child development. Ms. Mary was employed as a school psychologist for 12 years prior to starting her own family and becoming involved at FUMCN. She believes a play-based, child-directed learning approach is most suitable for preschools.  She enjoys creating an environment that fosters creativity, independence and a joy of learning. One of her favorite things about FUMCN is the partnership between the families and teachers and the community this creates. Ms. Mary’s two daughters attended FUMCN. She loves dogs and likes to hike, bike, golf, kayak, and read.

Jess Pascoal

assistant teacher

Jess has a degree in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College and an elementary education teaching license. Before having her daughter, Mae, she worked in a variety of settings where she was able to support children and families-  a private Jewish preschool in Boston, a co-op preschool in New Hampshire, a multi-age kindergarten through second grade rural public school in Virginia, a multi-age kindergarten through fifth grade private school in Ann Arbor, and
more. Jess believes that parents are a child's first and best teacher and loves the co-op model that FUMCN provides. Jess is deeply passionate about helping children learn about themselves and the world around them. During her free time, Jess can be found crafting, thrifting, and spending time outside. This will be Jess' second year at FUMCN as a parent and first year as a teacher. She's excited!


assistant teacher

Beth Pascoe

assistant teacher

Beth is a lifelong educator enjoying time as secondary math and technology teacher, a FUMCN parent, FUM-kids teacher, and a coach for a variety of ages in ice hockey, volleyball, basketball, softball, and tae kwon do. She has been actively involved at First United Methodist Church for the past 19 years with children’s ministry, service projects, and helping people feel connected with each other with Family Camp being her favorite activity. Beth’s favorite FUMCN activities are doing yoga with the kids, reading story books aloud, and learning about families cultural traditions. As a former math teacher, she especially loves observing kids develop their problem solving skills with the support of their teachers and family.

My name is Ava. I am the oldest of seven kids, so you can say I have always been in childcare! I live in Ann Arbor where I spend my free time studying and directing children's activities for my neighborhood get-togethers. I plan to get my bachelors in Elementary Education.

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